Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Dissolve baking soda in milk; stir in molasses. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into a greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loafpan.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.
Whole Wheat Raisin-Nut Bread: Substitute 3/4 cup raisins for 3/4 cup chopped dates; proceed as directed.
Whole Wheat Nut Bread: Omit chopped dates; proceed as directed.